STUART, FL. – Debbie Roberts, L.M.T. and fitness professional (owner of Massage & Fitness Professionals of the Treasure Coast) recently presented a seminar on understanding the foot, ankle, knee and hip to treat any form of a running injury, to local and out-of-town licensed massage therapists. The presentation allowed guests to complete another 16 continuing-education unit (CEU) course for their license in massage therapy, in order to provide clients with added insight into sports assessments and injury treatment and prevention.

Massage therapy has changed over past few years, where some therapists have chosen to make good use of massage therapy as more of a treatment plan, than that of spa massage. Massage therapy is the practice of using touch to manipulate the soft-tissue muscles of the body. It is performed for a variety of reasons, including treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries and promoting general health. Clients often seek massage for its medical benefit and for relaxation purposes, and there is a wide range of massage treatments available.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010, licensed massage therapists can specialize in more than 80 different types of massage, called modalities. Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, reflexology, acupressure, sports massage and neuromuscular massage are just a few of the many approaches to massage therapy. Most massage therapists specialize in several modalities, which require different techniques. Some use exaggerated strokes ranging the length of a body part, while others use quick, percussion-like strokes with a cupped or closed hand. A massage can be as long as two hours or as short as 5 or 10 minutes. Usually, the type of massage given depends on the client’s needs and physical condition. For example, therapists may use special techniques for elderly clients that they would not use for athletes, and they would use approaches for clients with injuries that would not be appropriate for clients seeking relaxation. Also, some forms of massage are given solely to one type of client; for example, prenatal massage and infant massage are given to pregnant women and new mothers, respectively.

In 2009, 42 States and the District of Columbia had laws regulating massage therapy in some way. Most of the boards governing massage therapy in these states require practicing massage therapists to complete a formal education program and pass an examination.

Training standards and requirements for massage therapists vary greatly by state and locality. Education programs are typically found in private or public postsecondary institutions and can require 500 hours of study or more to complete. A high school diploma or equivalent degree is usually required for admission. Massage therapy programs generally cover such subjects as anatomy; physiology, the study of organs and tissues; kinesiology, the study of motion and body mechanics; business management; ethics; and the hands-on practice of massage techniques. Training programs may concentrate on certain modalities of massage. Massage therapy programs vary in accreditation. Generally, in Florida, the training programs are approved by a state board, and they also may be accredited by an independent accrediting agency. In states that regulate massage therapy, graduation from an approved school or training program usually is required in order to practice. Florida regulations require therapists keep up on their knowledge and technique through continuing education.

In states with massage therapy regulations, workers must obtain a license after graduating from a training program and prior to practicing massage. Passage of an examination is usually required for licensure. The examination may be solely a state exam or one of two nationally recognized tests: the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) and the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Massage therapy licensure boards decide which certifications and tests to accept on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, those wishing to practice massage therapy should look into legal requirements for the state and locality in which they intend to practice [Source: www.bls.gov/oco/ocos295.htm].

To find out more about the three different departments of Massage & Fitness Professionals of the Treasure Coast (massage, fitness and aesthetics), visit www.massage-fitnessspa.com/about.html, call (772) 288-0073 or e-mail: massageandfitnes@bellsouth.net. Massage & Fitness Professionals of the Treasure Coast is also supporting the Fisher House™ Foundation Inc. for military mothers and families. For the month of May, any monetary donation to Fisher House will warrant a 20 percent discount off the regular price of either a 30-minute or one-hour massage from May 15 to 31.

To find out more information regarding Florida law and Florida licensed practitioners, visit www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/massage/ma_consumer.html. For more information about the Fisher House™ Foundation Inc., visit www.fisherhouse.org.  

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